No. 6 Rider's Late Rally Falls Short Versus No. 3 Canisius

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
Release: May 24, 2017
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Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)
NIAGARA FALLS, NY – The sixth-seeded Rider University baseball team fell to No. 3 seed Canisius, 11-8, on Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Baseball Championship at Sal Maglie Stadium. The Broncs (23-27-1) saw their four-game winning streak come to an end, while the Golden Griffins (35-20) won their fourth game in a row versus Rider this season.

Rider jumped out to an early lead thanks to a three-run outburst in the top of the first. During the frame, Lee Lipinski (Glen Arm, MD/Calvert Hall) hit a two-run double down the left field line and Jake Bender (Ellicott City, MD/Marriotts Ridge) had an RBI single. In the bottom half of the stanza, Canisius rallied for two runs to cut the deficit to just one at 3-2.

The Griffs came back to take their first lead of the game in the third with two runs following an RBI triple and a wild pitch. Trailing by a run in the top of the seventh, Christian Estevez (River Edge, NJ/River Dell) hit a leadoff triple for the Broncs. Rider was unable to push him across and he was stranded.

In the bottom half of the seventh, Canisius added six runs thanks to three hit and four walks to stretch their lead to seven at 10-3. Rider cut into the deficit with a run in the top of the eighth thanks to a pinch hit RBI single to left by junior Brian Uliana (Bethlehem, PA/Freedom) to make it a 10-4 game in favor of the Griffs. Canisius answered back with a single run in the bottom of the eighth to stretch the lead back to seven.

Rider did not go down quietly in the ninth, as Riley Mihalik (Churchville, PA/Chestnut Hill Academy) smacked a grand slam with no outs to cut the deficit to three at 11-8. Following the Mihalik blast, the Broncs put the tying runners on base before Canisius reliever Tyler Smith got out of the jam with a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.  

Offensively, Kaiser led the charge for the Broncs. He went 3-for-4 with a  double and a run scored. Rider had 13 hits total in the game. Prior to the ninth, the big hits came early on for the Broncs as both Lipinski and Bender delivered with two outs in the first inning. Mihalik and Lipinski both went 2-for-5 for the Broncs. The four RBIs for Mihalik were a season-high, while Lipinski had two or more RBIs for the 10th time this year.

On the mound, junior left-hander Nick Margevicius (North Royalton, OH/Saint Ignatius) tossed six and one-third innings and was saddled with the loss for the Broncs. He scattered eight hits and allowed five earned runs, while striking out nine hitters without surrendering a walk.

“First of all we cannot give up the big inning,” Rider Head Coach Barry Davis said. “We did it, giving up six runs on three hits and too many walks.”

“We missed an opportunity in the first inning with a poor base running decision,” Davis added. “We were not able to score the run third later in the game. We had opportunities, we just left them on the table. We have to come back and play well tomorrow.”

- Margevicius struck out two hitters in the first, second and third innings. He retired the side in order in the sixth. His nine strikeouts were a season-high and the second-best performance of his career. The 9-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio was also a season-best for Margevicius. He threw 111 pitches in the game and 75 of them were strikes.  
- After Margevicius was pulled in the seventh with one out and a runner on third, Bronc relievers walked four hitters in a row and allowed back-to-back two-run singles. 
- Mike Diorio worked the final 1.2 innings for the Broncs out of the bullpen and he allowed one unearned run, while scattering three hits and striking out two.
- Kaiser's multi-hit game was his 14th of the season and his second in a row. Over the last two games, he is 5-for-8. 
- The triple by Estevez was his first of the season and also the first of his career. 
- Margevicius earned First Team All-MAAC honors on Tuesday evening as announced by the league office. He earned conference-wide distinction for the second year in a row and he was the only Bronc to be named to an All-MAAC team in 2017.
- Rider placed nine student-athletes on the 2017 MAAC Baseball All-Academic Team. It marked the fifth straight year that the Broncs saw nine or more players recognized for their work in the classroom.

- In the first inning, Rider had three hits with two outs. 
- Kaiser's double in the first was his 50th hit of the season. He also stole his ninth base of the season in the eighth. 
- Jordan Silverman walked both of the batters he faced out of the bullpen in the seventh. 
- Paul Sparano walked two hitters and surrendered a two-run single in the seventh after coming on for Silverman. 
- Uliana picked up his sixth RBI of the year in the eighth. He has four RBIs in the last three games for the Broncs. 
- Mihalik's homer was his fifth of the season and he now has 28 RBIs. It was also the first grand slam of the year for the team.

No. 6 seed Rider will face the loser of this afternoon's contest between No. 4 Iona and No. 5 Manhattan on Thursday, May 25, at 3:30 pm from Sal Maglie Stadium. The Broncs lost two of three to both the Gaels and the Jaspers this year. 
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